The Age of Imperialism:
Africa
THE “DARK”
CONTINENT
• “Dark Continent” – racist
terminology referred to both the
peoples of Africa and their alleged
ignorance
• In reality, Africa has always had
diverse groups of people with their
own unique cultures and histories
– Civilizations
– Languages
– Religions
Imperialism in
• During the 18th and 19th
Africa
centuries, Europeans
began to explore the
interior of the African
continent
Imperialism in Africa
• Reasons for exploration in the 1700s & 1800s:
– Nationalism – competition among European countries to
enhance their power, wealth, and prestige
– Racism – ideas of white superiority and the need to
“civilize” the savages
– Missionaries – spread Christianity to the heathens; some
were motivated by humanitarianism (improve lives of
others)
– Industrial Revolution – always looking for more sources
of raw materials and more markets to sell their
manufactured goods
– Key countries involved: Great Britain, France, Germany,
Belgium, Italy
Imperialism in Africa
• Reasons for exploration in Africa:
– Atlantic slave trade was ending and Europeans saw the
great potential wealth of Africa in trade
– Africa was the “Dark Continent” – scientists and
geographers wanted to explore and document what
Africa contained
Imperialism in Africa - Explorers
• James Bruce – 1770
– Discovered source of Blue
Nile in Ethiopia
Mungo Park – 1795
Explored Niger River – his
reports spur more exploration
Imperialism in Africa - Explorers
• 1840 – Johann Krapf &
Johannes Rebmann
– German missionaries
– 1st Europeans to see Mt.
Kilimanjaro & Mt.
Kenya
– Many people couldn’t
believe there were snowcapped mountains in
Africa
• David Livingstone
– Scottish missionary, doctor
– Made 1st trip 1831
– Abolitionist – believed ending
slavery was possible if new
commerce was brought into
Africa
• Made several trips into interior of
Africa
• Guided 1st European crossing of
Kalahari Desert
• By 1860 could claim to be 1st
European to cross African
continent
• Explored source of White Nile
Imperialism in
Africa Explorers
David
Livingstone
• Disappeared in mid-1860s
• Family feared he had died
• NYC newspaper hires
Henry Morton Stanley to go
to Africa and find him
• Stanley found Livingstone
in 1871
• His trip kindled European
interest in Africa
• Both men & the maps they
made opened Africa for
different reasons
David
Livingstone
Dr. Livingstone, I Presume?
• Spent time in Africa
exploring the Congo
River
• His maps and
knowledge of the
area enabled King
Leopold of Belgium
to claim the area
Henry Morton
Stanley
KARL PETERS (1856-1918)
• German explorer in Africa
• Organized and propagandized for
Germany’s colonial expansion
– Founded the Society for German
Colonization
• Acquired German East Africa
(modern-day Tanzania)
• Convinced Otto von Bismarck to
take over German East Africa and
increase Germany’s colonies in
Africa
CECIL RHODES (18531902)
• British businessman and politician in southern Africa
• Made a fortune from African diamond mines
• Established South African Company
– Land later became Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)
• Prime minister of Cape Colony (1890-1896)
– Wanted British control over South Africa
– Wanted Cape-to-Cairo Railroad
• Architect of British imperialism in southern Africa
– Great Britain became leading colonial power in
southern Africa
CECIL RHODES (18531902)
European Attitudes Toward Africans
• White superiority/black
inferiority
• People to be exploited and
civilized – need to change
their “pagan” or “heathen”
ways
• Childlike, ignorant, cruel,
superstitious
The Scramble for Africa
1870-1914
• Before
1885,
European
countries
had
minimal
presence in
Africa
What two
areas of
Africa
were not
taken over
and why?
The Berlin Conference 1884-1885
Major powers met in Berlin to draw up rules for
dividing the African continent – needed to
prevent war among them
The Berlin Conference Rules to Claim
a Territory:
• Make a formal, public announcement of claim
• Effectively occupy territory (ex. using roads or
railroads)
• Extend control from coast to interior
• Negotiate treaty with local peoples that would
constitute a claim to sovereignty
The Berlin Conference Rules
• Agreed traders and missionaries have access to
interior
• Agreed Congo and Niger rivers were
international waterways
• Agreed Christianity should be brought to all
Africans
• Agreed what was left of slave trade should be
destroyed
The Berlin
Conference
• “Africa was divided
by Europeans for
Europeans”
• Primary nations:
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
Great Britain
France
Belgium
Spain
Portugal
Germany
Italy
Types of European Control
• British – Indirect Rule
• French – Direct Rule
• Belgians – Paternalism
• Portuguese – Assimilation
KING LEOPOLD II OF
BELGIUM (1835-1909)
• Took over land in central Africa
• Berlin Conference (1885)
– Leopold’s control over Congo Free State
recognized by major powers
• Belgian Congo (1908)
– Leopold criticized for the cruelty of his rule in
the Congo
– Leopold forced to sell Congo Free State to
Belgian government
– Renamed Belgian Congo
• Created European race for African colonies –
“Scramble for Africa”
– Diamonds, foodstuffs, gold, ivory, rubber
Belgian Congo
Leopold the
Snake
African Resistance
• 1890 Chief Macemba in Tanganyika to
German officer
– “I have listened to your words but can find no
reason why I should obey you – I would rather die
first. I have no relations with you and cannot
bring it to my mind that you have given me so
much as a pesa (small maount of money) of the
quarter of a pesa or a needle or a thread….
I look for some reason why I should obey you
and find not the smallest. If it should be
friendship that you desire, then I am ready for
it, today and always. But to be your subject,
that I cannot be…. If it should be war you
desire, then I am ready, but never to your
subject.”
AFRICANS IN AFRICA
• By the time of the First World War (1914)
– Only 2 independent African countries
• Abyssinia (Ethiopia)
– Ruled by dynasty stretching back to at least the 13th century
– Last emperor was Haile Selassie, deposed in 1974
– Home to Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church (strongly tied to
Egyptian Coptic Church)
• Liberia
– Formed by freed slaves under auspices of the United States
government
African Resistance - Ethiopians
• In 1887 & 1896 Ethiopian
army defeated Italians
• Emperor Menelik II – created
modern state of Ethiopia,
including modern military
• Ethiopia remained
independent until 1930s when
Benito Mussolini sought
revenge and occupied
Ethiopia
• Built empire on West
Africa’s Gold Coast
• By early 1800s,
covered 150,000
square miles
• Included between 3-5
million people
• Strong king &
bureaucracy
• Capital of Kumasi was
bustling commercial
center
African Resistance Ashanti
Clashed
with British
for 75
years
*1873 –
full scale
attack
against
Ashanti
using
modern
weaponry
and African
allies
African Resistance Ashanti
BRITISH IN SOUTHERN
AFRICA
• 1815 – British took Cape Colony from the Dutch
– Boers moved north
• Transvaal
– 1886 – gold discovered and British moved in
– 1881 and 1895 – British attempted to take Transvaal from the
Boers
• Orange Free State
• Boer War (1899-1892)
– Dutch led by President Paul Kruger
– British won
UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA
• Created in 1910
• Included Cape Colony, Orange Free
State, Natal, and Transvaal
• Self-government
BRITISH COLONIES IN SOUTHERN
AFRICA
• Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)
– Named for Cecil Rhodes
– North of Union of South Africa
• Bechuanaland (now Botswana)
– 1885 – became a British protectorate
• Kenya
– 1888 – became a British protectorate
BRITISH IN NORTH
AFRICA
• Egypt – in name ruled by Ottoman Turks, but
largely independent
• European capital investments
– Suez Canal opened in 1869
• Built by the Egyptians and French
• Taken over by the British (1875)
– British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli
» Bought shares in Suez Canal Company from Egypt
• Egypt was nearly bankrupt from the expense of
building the Suez Canal
» British government became largest shareholder
EUROPEANS IN EGYPT
• 1870s – with the Egyptian government bankrupt,
the British and French took over financial
control of the country
– Egyptian monarchs (technically Ottoman
viceroys) ruled as puppet leaders
• 1882 – Egyptian nationalist rebellion
– France withdrew its troops
– Great Britain left in control of Egypt
• Lord Cromer introduced reforms
– De facto British protectorate
• Made official in 1914
• Independence came in 1922
BRITISH IN NORTHERN
AFRICA
• Sudan
–
–
–
–
Area south of Egypt
Under Anglo-Egyptian control
Cotton needed for British textile mills
Entente Cordiale (1904)
• Great Britain controlled Sudan
• France controlled Morocco
• Cape-to-Cairo Railroad
– Idea of Cecil Rhodes
– Would secure Great Britain’s dominance in Africa
– Never completed – sections missing through modern Sudan and
Uganda
Cape-to-Cairo Railway: Crossing over Victoria Falls
FRENCH IN AFRICA
• Algeria
– 1830 – invasion
– 1831 – annexation
• Tunis
– 1881 – controlled by France
• Led Italy to join the Triple Alliance with Austria-Hungary and Germany
• Morocco
– 1881 – large part under French control
– 1905 and 1911 – nearly sparked a European war between
France and Germany
• 1906 – Algeciras Conference – Germany recognized French rights in
Morocco
• 1911 – Agadir Crisis – Germany recognized French protectorate over
Morocco in exchange for part of France’s territory in the Congo
FRENCH IN AFRICA
• Madagascar
– 1896 – controlled by France
• Somaliland
– 1880s – partly under French control
• West Africa
– Late 1800s – largely under French control
• Sudan
– 1898 – met Britain’s area of control and nearly went to war
– Entente Cordiale settled British-French disputes in Africa
FRENCH IN AFRICA
• By World War I – 1914
– France controlled 3,250,000 square miles in Africa
• 14 times the area of France
– France ruled 30,000,000 Africans
• 75% of the population of France
GERMANS IN AFRICA
• Togoland (now Togo and Ghana)
• Cameroons (now Cameroon and
Nigeria)
• Southwest Africa (now Namibia)
• East Africa (now Burundi, Rwanda,
and Tanzania)
ITALIANS IN AFRICA
• 1882-1896
– Eritrea (along the Red Sea)
– Somaliland (along the Indian Ocean, part
of today’s Somalia)
• 1896
– Defeated in attempt to conquer Abyssinia
(Ethiopia)
• 1912
– Won Tripoli from Ottoman Turks
Effects of European Rule on Africa
• Improved Medicine
– Positive
– Negative
Effects of European Rule on Africa
• Improved Medicine
– Positive
– Negative
• Europeans stressed cash crop agriculture
– Did not necessarily produce enough food for Africans
to eat
Effects of European Rule on Africa
• Europeans made Africans into tenants instead
of the tribe controlling the land
• Taxes were charged by Europeans – Africans
had to work for the Europeans to pay the taxes
• Africans had to move to urban areas to find
work – led to break up of families and clans
• Europeans separated traditional ethnic groups
and put together traditional enemies when
creating new boundaries
Effects of European Rule on Africa
• Improved transportation and communication
systems
– Positive
– Negative
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The Age of Imperialism